Content Strategy for Technical Content (according to Rahel Anne Bailie)

I’m not sure how many folks here may have noticed, but I recently dropped “Technical and Marketing Communication,” from the title of this blog. Though I’ll still be blogging about both technical and marketing communication topics, the direction I’m moving in these days is much broader than a single discipline (or two)…In the same vein, it took me a long time to settle on a tag-line here at Content for a Convergent World, but I finally found one I really like—Content Strategy, Development, and Management.

(For anyone who was watching closely, you may have noticed, especially during the fall and early winter months, that I changed my tag-line, in an almost weekly [sometimes daily, if you were watching very closely] display of creative indecision…I’ve kept this latest tag-line in place for many months and feel like it finally captures the diversity of my professional interests, in a simultaneously cohesive and focused way.)

On SlideShare, I recently found presentations from Rahel Anne Bailie (@rahelab on Twitter), Content Strategist and CM Consultant, from Intentional Design, which reinforce this blog’s inclusive direction and tie in with the vision I had, when I first set down my thoughts in About This Blog, more than a year ago.

In this retrospective, I pay special homage to Content Wrangler Scott Abel, who has featured Bailie, at his own blog in the post, Rahel Bailie Provides A Content Strategy Primer, and who has greatly influenced my thinking, about the direction of technical communication. In particular, I read Nicky Bleiel’s guest-post (Convergence Technical Communication: Strategies for Incorporating Web 2.0) at Abel’s blog , about the same time I was launching this blog. I find myself still referring back to those ideas, especially as I recommit to this more cross-disciplinary, holistic direction.

Bailie’s presentation describes all the themes I’m trying to capture here, including content convergence, as well as the role of the content strategist in devising strategies, rooted in business requirements, for developing and managing portable content, including subscriptions, marketing content, engineering content, tech comm content, training content, support center content, CRM content, RSS feeds, and user-generated content.

I especially loved Bailie’s eloquent description of the content strategist’s T-thinking mind-set, described as “convergent, synergistic thinking”…convergent, synergistic thinking…yep, that’s what I’m aiming for, here, at Content for a Convergent World…convergent, synergistic thinking, for Enterprise 2.0, and beyond…Another hat tip to Scott Abel, Nicky Bleiel, and Rahel Anne Bailie—for their inspiration and leadership, and for being content strategists, long before content strategy was cool.

Here are some quick notes, from Bailie’s presentation.

What Is Content Convergence?

Content convergence is a move away from content silos (single-use, linear content), paired with content integration, which is combining content from multiple sources. Content convergence means portability—mixing and matching content to fit new contexts. Complex contexts demand concise content…Shape content around a single concept. The ability to re-use content across context increases content value.

To be portable, content needs to:

  • Be structured.
  • Have semantic properties.
  • Be findable (searchable).
  • Conform to standards.

What is Content Strategy?

Content strategy = devising strategies, rooted in business requirements, for portable content.

Content Strategists, Described

  • Content strategists are T-shaped thinkers, good at convergent, synergistic thinking (thinking outside the box).
  • Questions content strategists explore:
    • What are the touch points?
    • What can be automated for users?
    • What are the preferences of your audiences?
    • What is required by regulatory?
    • What is the best you can provide, in practicality?
    • How creative can you be?

Examples of Portable Content

Blog posts, images, Twitter posts, upcoming product releases, user-generated content, visitor login, ratings information, e-commerce data, audio files, and product descriptions.

 View more presentations from Rahel Anne Bailie.

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

2 thoughts on “Content Strategy for Technical Content (according to Rahel Anne Bailie)

  1. Peg:

    Thanks for mentioning The Content Wrangler and acknowledging the work I’ve done. It’s been a long process to elevate the field of content strategy to where it is today (I’ve had content management strategist as my title on my business card since 2002) and it’s folks like you that are “getting it” and passing the knowledge on that are helping to position technical communicators as leaders in this uncharted content arena.

    I appreciate all the very good work you do. You pay attention and your columns illustrate that. Thanks for sharing, for noticing, and for “getting it”.

    Scott Abel
    TheContentWrangler.com

    • Hi Scott,
      Thank you for all the kind words, Scott. I greatly admire your work at TheContentWrangler.com; I’m also always happy to help spread the word. I especially enjoyed Scott Smith’s recent column on adopting an accessible content strategy:
      http://thecontentwrangler.com/2010/05/24/why-you-should-adopt-an-accessible-content-strategy/

      On Twitter, you recently mentioned that both Rahel Bailie and yourself will be presenting at LavaCon 2010, in San Diego, CA. Now, there’s a conference I wish I could attend! The lineup of speakers and topics show that there are other technical communicators out there, who get that content strategy is where our field is moving, as it is for all content publishers…

      I encourage others interested in content strategy to attend this Conference, and to look-up its speakers in the blogosphere, and on Twitter:

      http://lavacon.org/category/sessions

      Thanks again, Scott, for dropping by, and for your support of this relatively young blogging effort.

      Peg

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